Did you also have a dream of what you wanted to be when you grow up? Like ‘Later when I grow up…’. I did not. Although I am a dreamer. Or … is that just having a rich fantasy ..? But I did not exactly have a dream that I wanted to live up to. I just liked many things. Too many maybe. Still actually.
Does that make it easier? No, not really. But I think that after a couple of years I know a little bit about it. A little then. Because there is still something I do not understand. I keep learning.
Later when I grow up…
What I do know is that if I like something, really like, then I go for it. That may sound cliché, but that’s not what i mean. If I like something and therefore do it, then I will go full throttle.
Then I can not resist putting the bar high. Not just high. But as high as I can. I can’t help that. That goes without saying. Because why would you do something if you do not get everything out of it. Then you might not enjoy it. Then you might as well not do it.
Lost in the pastry world
You will most likely know me from the macarons. Maybe also from the maduches. But do you know where I come from? You probably already knew that I used to work in advertising. After all, that is on my website. An Art Director who lost himself in the pastry world.
But did you know that I also had my own design studio when I left school? That was super nice! And that my first job in addition, was a manager at McDonald’s? Also super nice! And that I was a Creative Director at an international advertising agency in Slovenia? That was another challenge.
I then bought a snowboard. I loved snowboarding! And Slovenia lies between Italy and Austria. So plenty of mountains. A year later I was a Snowboard Instructor and I worked in those Alps. Why not.
Then I did nothing for a while. Just a break. I started working part-time at an advertising agency. And in that period I bought a KitchenAid mixer. From there you probably know my story. Because not so much later I opened the first macaron shop in the Netherlands. In 2012. And now, six years later, I closed that store.
My career is not exactly a predetermined route. Coz I had no dream. There was no master plan. I just did what I liked to do. As long as I could continue to do so. Because if it was made impossible or the challenge was gone, then I just had to do something else. I have now learned that the challenge is my drive. Creatively then. If I am not challenged in a creative way, I will bleed to death.
Then you might think that I am doing it for the contest element. To be better than another. To beat another. But that is not the case. It is not such a challenge. I do not have to prove anything to anyone. There is always a need for a new challenge but no urge to win. That sounds pretty confusing right? Actually, I did not understand it myself either. I just did it like that.
Finally I understood
Until I saw a presentation by the British-American marketer Simon Sinek last year. Then I finally understood. He put it very nicely: ‘Finite players play to beat the people around them. Infinite players play to beat themselves’. Either ‘finite players, play to defeat another. Infinite players, playing to become the better version of themselves’. For me it was then clear how I was put together.
Only now did I understand whyschool went the way it did. I did the Academy for Art Direction and Design. In between classmates who all wanted to become Art Director. I was admitted but I wondered if I did belong there. If I had it in me. Whether I was good enough. So what did i do? I was going to find out.
Without telling anyone I went to do my best. And not just my best. No. I did my very best. Because I wanted to know if I could be the best among all those creative minds. Because what is the use of a creative education to become a mediocre creative.
So I gave it my everything. I went full throttle. And I even enjoyed it. So I didn’t just do my homework. Not hasty to have it finished’. Good wasn’t good enough. No. I really went for it. The best I could make. But then the question arose, would the teacher agree? Or was I just mediocre? Maybe I did not have any talent for the creative profession at all.
What if I did not have it in me?
I must say that it was quite exciting. Because if I did not have it in me, why should I continue? Then I had to do something else. Everyone handed in their assignment. The next day the teacher hung the grade list with all the names on the wall. Did I succeed? I read the list somewhat nervously.
A ten! (A+) The highest in the class! Yes! But then the next question immediately arose: was this coincidence or luck? So I decided to try it again. Let’s do my very best again. I enjoyed it even better than the first time.
And what happened? Another ten! The only one. Yes! My insecurity was secretly enjoying the outcome. But twice can be a coincidence. So I had to try it one more time. Only then did something unexpected happen.
I had the highest grade for the third time. Only someone noticed. And he also said that out loud in the classroom. ‘What? Patrick has the highest score again’. You never guess what happened next.
The whole class also started to do their best. Apparently they needed extrinsic motivation to do so. But for me I had already proven my point. For me the fun was over. The challenge was no longer a challenge. But a competition. And I did not have the need to participate. An infinite player.
Beautiful word ‘extrinsic’. ‘Intrinsic’ is actually even more beautiful. If you do not know it: Extrinsic motivation, is motivation because of a reward. Meaning, you do something because you get rewarded. For example, a sum of money. Or a trophy, or gold medal. If there is no reward, then nothing happens. Extrinsic.
Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is motivation that comes from within. Meaning you do something because you just want to do it. Because you like it. It makes you happy. Because makes you feel good.
Passion or business
You could say that is extrinsic for business people. They do what they do for the reward. For example a good salary. The reward is their drive. And intrinsic is for passionate people. They do what they do because it makes their heart beat faster. They do not expect anything in return. A salary is only another reward on the reward that they do something they love. Their passion is their drive. You understand that I am a big fan of intrinsic people.
Extrinsic, business players are the finite players. There is a beginning and an end. If you’d take away the reward, they would disapear too. You could say that they are depending on the reward. Depending on others. Because the reward does not come from themselves.
Intrinsic, passionate people are the infinite players. There is a beginning but there is no end. They continue. Because work is actually not work. It does not cost them energy, but it gives energy. Nothing is as contagious as passionate people. After all, you will never get enough of your passion.
Rockstars and cover bands
You could compare intrinsic and extrinsic with musicians. That makes it a bit easier. There are two different types of players: rockstars and coverbands. The names already say enoug. The rockstar is intrinsic. Passionate. An infinite player. He is creative. He creates.
A cover band on the contrary, imitates the rockstar. He covers the rockstar. Now it becomes interesting. For some reason the player wants play in music, but he can not create anything himself. He depends on the rockstar. Extrinsic. Finite player.
Perhaps a small consolation: every rockstar has started a coverband. You must first learn how to play music, practise songs, before you can write your own. In short, there will always be rockstars and coverbands. I do not mean only in the music world. In every market. Fashion, food, IT. You name it. Also in the patisserie. Everywhere. That’s how the world turns. Rockstars create. Are original. Coverbands copy. Me-too-marketing. It is just a matter of what you want to be when you grow up. (You must not confuse me-too-marketing with the hashtag-me-too movement).
Have you ever taken a moment for yourself and wondered why you are doing what you do? What your motivation is. What’s in it for you. Either what is your reward. Do you remember what you wanted to be later when you grow up? Are you now? Or are you using one excuse after another because ‘you can not do it’. And that you’re on a train that just keeps on moving. Because it is.
Are you doing it for someone else? Or for yourself? Are you secretly a rockstar deep inside? Then you will have to make some changes. Break some circles. But don’t worry, every rockstar started as a coverband. As long as you stay with yourself.
Me myself and I also went through these phases. Multiple times. And I broke circles. For example, like closing my shop. Wasn’t easy. But it eventually brings you where you want to be. Money was never my drive. Joy and fun were. Obviously infinite. Intrinsic.
What it comes down to are values. What is importance to you. That is personal for everyone. What helps me is a quote I read:
‘You only live once, but if you do it well enough is enough’.
What have I done lately? Not that much. Just because the last months, or actually the last years, were a little too much. I have not baked anything anymore. But I did not do nothing. I’ve been busy with music.
My brother bought equipment from a DJ who retired. Turntables, mixing console, records. Everything. And he let me play with it on his birthday. What felt like playing for five minutes turned out to be 5 hours of dj’ing. So addictive!
And what do you do with an addiction when your name is Poptasi? Exactly. You surrender. As long as it’s not alcohol and drugs. Although macarons are safe. I think.
Thanks to my cousin I could practise in a club where she works. DJ’ing every Friday night until the resident DJ started. That’s how I got to know such great, enthusiastic and super cool DJ’s.
They didn’t believe i was new to dj’ing. They even let me play with them on Friday and Saturday night! I felt like a little boy in a toy store. So cool. One DJ was so impressed that he took me under his wings. Intensive training. Super fun and exciting!
I simply love DJ’ing. And I would also like to learn how to produce music. So I bought a new mixer. This time no KitchenAid. But Ableton. That is software and equipment with which you can make music with. Also so incredibly addictive!
I have no idea where this all will lead to. Inspiration is never an issue. Maybe I’ll release a song. Maybe not. Because I still have a lot to learn. But the adventure is fantastic anyway. I can recommend it to everyone.
I hardly dare to say it … but I even secretly bought a vlog camera. But will I dare to turn it on. I have to get used to that first. Practice a lot. Maybe vlogging about macarons ..? I’ll keep you informed. Love, Poptasi 8]x
PS Do you know what’s beautiful? Something I did not realize, or expected at all. But learned through everything: The store is closed. The macarons are gone. Yes, the maduches too. But you are still here. That means a lot to me. That feels really indescribably nice. Do you know what that makes you: Unbelievably intrinsic. You are true rockstars!